Independent Assurance Review, Police Scotland – Call Handling, Interim Report

Thursday, 3 September, 2015

This assurance review has been directed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice following the tragic incident involving the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell. This review sits alongside the independent investigation being undertaken by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) into that specific incident.

The background to this review, the objectives and methodology are outlined within the Terms of Reference,3 which was published on 22 July 2015. At that time, HMICS committed to providing Scottish Ministers with a full report by the end of October 2015 and this Interim Report by the end of August 2015, including any recommendations and improvements that we consider might be necessary.

This Interim Report is solely intended to provide an update on the progress of our review, including a summary of our activities, our emerging findings and key areas of interest where we will now seek further assurance. We have made one interim recommendation to Police Scotland on the future direction of police Contact, Command and Control centres across Scotland. This Interim Report does not constitute a complete set of findings, as our inspection activity is still ongoing and evidence continues to be collected and assessed to further inform our final report. It should be noted that further evidence may emerge which contradicts or changes the findings set out in this interim report.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice clearly set out expectations of the areas to be reviewed by HMICS, namely:

■ the capacity of the systems and the human resource available within the control centres to manage, receive, answer and prioritise calls;

■ the capability of the systems and the suitability of the training provided to those who manage, receive, answer and prioritise calls; and

■ the process within the control room to ensure that all calls are handled and dispatched appropriately.

We have sought to meet these expectations by objectively assessing the state, efficiency and effectiveness of the processes for call handling within Police Scotland and the associated procedures for governance, management, resourcing, training and quality assurance.

We will provide a final and more comprehensive report by the end of October 2015. This will detail our methodology and approach, explain the call handling process in plain English and outline our key findings, conclusions and any recommendations for improvement that we may identify. It will provide assurance on whether the service provided to the public is effective, whether call handling processes are working effectively and efficiently within Police Scotland and comment on the future plans for development of the national approach for police Contact, Command and Control.

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